eglinton crosstown

Costs soar for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT as its opening is delayed for the umpteenth time

The ongoing construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT has become as permanent a part of Toronto as any landmark or attraction, serving as a sort of comforting — albeit extremely annoying — constant in our lives for the last decade.

Residents thus may not be all that surprised to find out that the completion of the massive transit project has been delayed yet again following countless other postponements of the original 2020 completion date.

Due to the outcome of a legal battle between the company building the new line and the Province of Ontario, the project will now be taking even longer and cost even more.

Crosslinx Transit Solutions managed to prove that the COVID-19 health crisis was enough to be considered an "emergency" as outlined by the terms of its contract, meaning that it no longer has to deliver by fall 2022, the most recent date the work had been pushed to.

The construction consortium is now also eligible to receive financial relief from both the provincial government and transit agency Metrolinx to compensate for the impacts the pandemic had on the ongoing work — costs that the stakeholders were trying to put back onto Crosslinx.

All parties will now need to convene to renegotiate a new timeline, budgets and other aspects of the 19 km-long, 25-station line, which was already well over $5 billion in the making.

The court filing from Crosslinx cites $134 million in unanticipated costs due to COVID-19 lockdown, necessary changes to on-site work practices and more.

In January, the teams hit the milestone of installing 75 per cent of the track for the line, while some stations and other parts of the project are already done or likewise nearly completed.

A portion of the route was also energized for the first time ever earlier this month to prep for vehicle testing, at long last.

The Crosstown will run from Mount Dennis Station in the west to Kennedy Station in the east, with numerous connections to other transit routes and a plan for an extension westward to Pearson Airport and eastward to Malvern also in the works.

The federal government just last week offered up $12 billion in funding to go toward the Crosstown, along with the other new public transportation initiatives that are on the go for the GTHA, including the Ontario Line subway.

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